Newcastle Jets Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Murphy was candid in his praise of left-back Lee Ki-je at Tuesday’s press conference to announce that the former South Korean youth international had extended his stay with the Club.
Murphy opened the press opportunity – attended by NBN Television, NEW FM, The Herald, & ABC Newcastle – with remarks detailing his excitement at Ki-je’s capture for the next two Hyundai A-League seasons.
He also expressed statements regarding the Club’s squad retention and recruitment efforts leading into Hyundai A-League season 11.
Click play on the embed below to listen to Murphy’s comments in full, or read on for a snapshot of the early stages of the press conference.
“It is with great excitement today that we, the Newcastle Jets, announce that Lee Ki-je has agreed to stay with the Club for a further two seasons. It’s a fantastic signing for us and it’s some good news and some welcome news for the Club overall.
“I said when I first arrived here that one of our primary objectives is to build a strong playing squad for next season that will enable us to compete in Finals. Following on from the signing of Nigel Boogaard – who will be a fine leader for us on and off the field – adding Ki-je to the mix is a huge bonus for us in that objective.
“I think the other thing that is really important is that we’ll continue to be methodical in terms of our due diligence in terms of both our retention and our recruitment moving forward over the next couple of months in the lead up to the pre-season.
“The other thing that I want to stress is that selecting the right players with the right attitude who are going to culturally fit is also very important. In the short time that Ki-je has been here he has fitted in exceptionally well in the Club surrounds, he’s loving living in Newcastle, has really embraced living here, including doing a spot of fishing at Swansea yesterday on his day off.
“Putting aside the financial components of the contract is that his wife and his newborn child – his wife is due to give birth in late April, early May – will obviously be joining him on his return for pre-season. As a Club we’re fully committed to make sure that his family feels very, very welcome in the town, and if he’s happy off the field then that’s going to produce great form on the field.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that quality left backs are very, very hard to find, and there’s no doubt that Ki-je is certainly of the highest quality in that position. But the added bonus is that he can play higher up the field if required, and has demonstrated already that he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net, so that’s added bonuses rather than being an outright niche defensive player,” Murphy said.